19. Grassland [III]

It seemed near impossible, but it felt like the house was cooling down. Its heart had frozen over, and now, as the end neared, the walls themselves were dropping by the centigrade every hour. If it had not known better, the house would soon become a place of ice tears.

Aidelle leaned on her elbows across the kitchen table, her head leaning on her balled fists and tilted slightly to the right, as the woman did when she was most interested. Eagerly, she continued their conversation, trying to ignore the growing cold and the urge to reach for another teabag.

“So, tell me all you know about that time institute.”

She had fetched a notebook and pen, knowing she was using up Zara and her own little time indeed, but had felt there was some necessity in order. Now the pen was lying by the round edge of Aidelle’s right elbow, and Zara let her fingers run back and forth anxiously over it. The girl looked up, as Aidelle slid her fingers down to clasp the younger girl’s hand and the pen together.

“Why build it on the most un-buildable place for miles around?” She asked.

Zara shrugged, pulling her hand away from the hold, and twirling the rainbow-coloured, slightly-overdramatically gemstone-studded pen through the fingers of her left hand. He eyes watched the weave, in and out, and then Zara slowly slid the notebook to her.

“I don’t know,” she finally responded, “Perhaps they could find no other place. In my time, the building on the heath is rather…iconic. It just is. I don’t remember when it first ‘grew out of the ground’, but that was certainly before I was born.”

“But no-one questions it? Surely I myself…?”

Zara shook her head.

“Well, it looks- looked- oh, will look just like a hospital. Nobody thought to question it, not even you…”

“None of my generation asked about the grassland? We all grew up being taught that it was impossible to put a foundation on that sparse, grey, arid soil.”

“I guess those scientists- or experimenters- found a special way to make their private building in the perfect, secretive place. The building is made (from what I can tell from my trip inside) from a chrome-based alloy. I guess you know what that is? Large shiny, metal plating stretching up from the floor and across the ceiling. It was like being inside a giant microwave…or an alien’s spacecraft.”

“Sounds…futuristic,” nodded Aidelle, “If only I could see it! Oh, how I wish I wasn’t trapped.”

Zara stopped her doodling in the notebook, as Aidelle’s eyes had become glazed over with sorrow, and the latter looked into the distance, whilst the former slumped over the written words ‘private’, ‘metal box’, ‘institute’ and ‘time-energy’.

“I thought it was something from a dream come true. How naïve I was; it turns out that the institute was really my nightmare.”

Suddenly, Aidelle snapped right out of her reverie, and once again reached for Zara’s hands across the table, before saying a second later:
“What I only want to know is ‘why there’? What are they doing that needs to be here, by us? They wouldn’t have planned this, would they?”

The End

91 comments about this story Feed